Is $40,000 a Good Salary for a Single Person?

By Jason Steele · May 15, 2024 · 8 minute read

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Is $40,000 a Good Salary for a Single Person?

Is $40,000 a year considered a “good” salary for an individual? The answer depends on a number of factors, including your lifestyle, location, and expenses. A single person living in a smaller town may be able to live more comfortably on $40k a year than, say, a family that calls a pricey city home.

External forces also play a role. For instance, inflation continues to steadily rise, and that can impact whether a single person is able to get by on their income.

Let’s put a $40,000 annual salary into perspective.

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Is $40K a Good Salary?

Earning more than the average worker is one way to determine whether a salary is “good.” With that in mind, how does a $40,000 salary stack up? As of 2024, it falls below the average annual salary in the U.S., which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is $59,228.

But keep in mind financial needs differ from person to person. Earning $40,000 a year may be considered a good entry-level salary and could be more than enough for someone with low monthly expenses. Adding another income to the mix also makes a difference. For example, if your spouse or partner also earns $40,000, your household income would be $80,000. That’s higher than the national average household income of $74,755.

No matter what your income is, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on your spending and saving. Tools like a money tracker can help make the job easier and provide valuable insights on your finances.

Recommended: U.S. Average Income by Age

Median Income in the U.S. by State in 2024

The median income of a state can provide a snapshot into what it costs to live and work there, as the BLS data in the chart below shows. Interested in a more lucrative career? You may want to look into the highest-paying jobs by state.


Median Annual Salary

Alabama $41,350
Alaska $56,140
Arizona $47,680
Arkansas $39,060
California $54,030
Colorado $54,050
Connecticut $56,130
Delaware $49,280
Florida $45,070
Georgia $45,480
Hawaii $50,510
Idaho $44,240
Illinois $48,730
Indiana $45,470
Iowa $46,460
Kansas $45,250
Kentucky $43,730
Louisiana $41,320
Maine $47,590
Maryland $55,810
Massachusetts $60,690
Michigan $46,940
Minnesota $50,880
Mississippi $37,500
Missouri $45,080
Montana $45,690
Nebraska $46,440
Nevada $44,810
New Hampshire $49,980
New Jersey $54,860
New Mexico $43,620
New York $56,840
North Carolina $45,440
North Dakota $48,830
Ohio $46,690
Oklahoma $41,480
Oregon $50,010
Pennsylvania $47,430
Rhode Island $50,970
South Carolina $42,220
South Dakota $43,680
Tennessee $43,820
Texas $45,970
Utah $47,020
Vermont $49,630
Virginia $49,920
Washington $59,920
West Virginia $39,770
Wisconsin $47,590
Wyoming $47,250

Source: BLS

Average Cost of Living in the U.S. by State in 2024

Generally speaking, half of your salary probably goes toward necessities like food, housing, healthcare, and taxes. If you want to see your money go farther, you may need to put down roots in an area with a lower cost of living. Let’s take a look at the average cost of living in each state.


Average Cost of Living

Alabama $33,654
Alaska $48,670
Arizona $39,856
Arkansas $32,979
California $53,171
Colorado $45,931
Connecticut $46,912
Delaware $44,389
Florida $40,512
Georgia $38,747
Hawaii $55,491
Idaho $37,658
Illinois $41,395
Indiana $36,207
Iowa $35,871
Kansas $35,185
Kentucky $35,508
Louisiana $35,576
Maine $39,899
Maryland $48,235
Massachusetts $53,860
Michigan $37,111
Minnesota $41,498
Mississippi $32,336
Missouri $35,338
Montana $37,328
Nebraska $37,519
Nevada $41,630
New Hampshire $45,575
New Jersey $49,511
New Mexico $34,501
New York $49,623
North Carolina $36,702
North Dakota $35,707
Ohio $35,932
Oklahoma $33,966
Oregon $46,193
Pennsylvania $40,066
Rhode Island $44,481
South Carolina $34,826
South Dakota $36,864
Tennessee $34,742
Texas $37,582
Utah $40,586
Vermont $43,927
Virginia $43,067
Washington $47,231
West Virginia $34,861
Wisconsin $37,374
Wyoming $37,550

Source: Forbes

How to Live on $40,000 a Year

While an annual salary of $40,000 is below the national average, there are ways that you can make the income work for you. One way to approach your spending is to follow the 50/30/20 rule, which recommends earmarking 50% of your money for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings.

But depending on your monthly expenses and lifestyle, you may need to make some sacrifices to live comfortably on $40,000 a year. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to lower expenses. Some examples include meal planning, looking for free or cheap entertainment, and sharing your housing costs with a roommate.

How to Budget for a $40K Salary

Tracking where your money goes can go a long way toward helping you stretch a $40,000 salary. Online tools like a budget planner app provide a high-level overview of your financial habits so you can identify areas where you can cut back, if needed.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to budgeting, there are some things you’ll want to do at the outset. A good place to start? Setting your short- and long-term financial goals. Next, calculate how much money you’re bringing in each month — and where it’s going. (Reviewing recent financial statements can be useful at this stage.)

Once you have a good understanding of your financial picture, select a budgeting method — and then follow it. Remember, a budget isn’t written in stone, so plan on reviewing and adjusting yours regularly to ensure it still fits you.

How to Maximize a $40K Salary

If you’re making $40,000 a year, one question you may have is how to get the most out of every dollar you earn. There are different approaches to explore. A common one is to try living below your means, which is getting by on less money than you earn each month. Whatever is left over can be put in savings or invested.

Another strategy is to sock away as much as possible for your retirement savings. Find out if your employer offers a 401(k) matching program (many do), and consider contributing enough to get the match.

You may also want to explore ways to lower your tax bill, such as making charitable contributions, contributing to an HSA, or taking advantage of certain credits. A tax professional can help you decide which option makes sense for you.

Can You Have a Good Quality of Life on a $40,000 a Year Salary?

Recent research suggests there’s a link between income and happiness. But that doesn’t mean an individual earning $40,000 a year can’t have a good quality of life. In fact, a single person may find that such a salary can indeed provide a comfortable life. Affordable housing, reasonable living expenses, a low debt-to-income ratio, and a solid savings plan can all help lower financial stress and allow you to focus on the people and activities that matter to you.

Is $40,000 a Year Considered Rich?

A $40,000 annual salary may not be most people’s definition of rich. But there are situations where that can feel like a substantial sum.

For example, a young adult living at home might be able to make $40,000 go very far, so long as she doesn’t need to reimburse her family for things like housing, health insurance, food, or other major living expenses. In that scenario, earning $40,000 would be more than enough to cover meals out, occasional vacations, and maybe even a few luxury goods.

Is $40K a Year Considered Middle Class?

There are different ways to define “middle class”; income and net worth are two of them. According to Census Bureau data, a middle-class household in the U.S. makes between $58,201 and $94,000 a year. A $40,000 salary is classified as lower-middle class, which is defined as households that earn between $30,001 and $58,020 a year.

The numbers change when you consider class through the lens of net worth. Census Bureau data defines “middle class” as households with a net worth of $145,000. Curious about how much you’re “worth”? A net worth calculator by age table can show you how you compare to your peers.

Recommended: How to Calculate Your Net Worth and Wealth: The Ultimate Guide

Examples of Jobs that Make $40,000 a Year

Looking to make a career move? There are plenty of jobs — including ones for introverts — that pay around $40,000 a year. Here are 10 to consider, per

•   Kindergarten teacher

•   Reporter

•   Junior copywriter

•   Firefighter

•   Events manager

•   Admissions counselor

•   Loan processor

•   Customer service representative

•   Project coordinator

•   Property manager

The Takeaway

Is $40K a good salary? Though not exactly a six-figure salary, earning $40,000 a year may provide a single person with enough to live, depending on their location, expenses, and lifestyle. It may also be a reasonable salary for young adults at the start of their careers. By carefully budgeting your income, you can stretch $40,000 a year farther than you might have thought.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

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Can I live comfortably making $40K a year?

It’s possible for a single person to make it on a $40,000 a year salary. Having an affordable place to live, reasonable monthly expenses, and a low debt-to-income ratio can help create a more comfortable life.

What can I afford with a $40K salary?

The amount of disposable income you have each month depends largely on your cost of living. You may find a $40,000 annual salary goes farther in an affordable area than it would in a pricey location.

How much is $40K a year hourly?

A $40,000 annual salary works out to an hourly rate of $19.23. This is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

How much is $40K a year monthly?

If you earn $40,000 a year, your monthly pay comes out to $3,333.

How much is $40K a year daily?

A $40K annual salary comes out to $153.85 per day, assuming you work 40 hours per week.

Photo credit: iStock/Lyndon Stratford

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